Photographing Models: Dos and Don’ts

Working with models is tough. As the photographer, you’re responsible not only for your own work but also for the outcome of the model. So what will make or break the shoot? Manny and Diana Ortiz have a few pointers to share:

The Dos of Photographing Models

  1. Always give positive feedback. It’s easy to get caught up in the technical aspects of a shoot. If you’re saying things like, “This isn’t going to work,” when referring to the light or anything else, the model will think it’s him or her and feel discouraged.
  2. Show them the photos. Often, the model isn’t sure the photos are turning out. Showing them the good photos and telling them that they’re doing a great job is hugely motivating.

Do's and don’ts when shooting with a model

  1. Play music. Ask the model what kind of music they like ahead of time. Music will help ease any nerves and lighten the mood.

Do's and don’ts when shooting with a model

  1. Direct more, pose less. Directing tends to bring out the best in the model and helps create more natural photos. When you ask someone to pose and the shoot goes on for some time, she is quickly going to run out of ideas.

Do's and don’ts when shooting with a model

  1. Save some ideas on your phone. Everyone needs some fresh ideas now and then. When you’ve been working for a while you’re likely to run out of ideas. At those times, you can fall back on photos on your phone, Pinterest, or an Instagram feed to help save the day.

Do's and don’ts when shooting with a model

The Don’ts of Photographing a Model

  1. Don’t touch the model. If you really have to make an adjustment, for instance fixing her hair for a certain look, ask her permission first.

Do's and don’ts when shooting with a model

  1. Don’t assume the model is psychic. Unless you tell the model what you need them to do, there is no way they’re going to know what you want. Communicate what you need in advance. The dress, the look, the mood—tell them everything you’re looking for.
  2. Don’t put the model in harm’s way. Don’t push a model to do anything they’re not comfortable doing.
  3. Don’t be so serious. Your mood sets the tone of the shoot. You might have a ton of things on your mind, but that doesn’t mean you have to be serious all the time.

Do's and don’ts when shooting with a model

  1. Be careful with your choice of words. Keep things as professional as you can, particularly when it comes to body parts.

What other tips do you have for working with photography models?

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One response to “Photographing Models: Dos and Don’ts”

  1. Jim the Photographer says:

    Great practical advice. I really like your fun approach.

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